Barcelona teenager Alejandro Balde called up for Spain’s FIFA World Cup squad after Jose Gaya pulls out

FIFA World Cup 2022: Barcelona teenager Alejandro Balde has received his first World Cup call-up after Spanish left-back Jose Gaya was forced to pull out of the competition due to an ankle injury.

New Delhi,UPDATED: Nov 18, 2022 20:30 IST

Alejandro Balde controls the ball for FC Barcelona. (Courtesy: Reuters)

By India Today Web Desk: FC Barcelona teenager Alejandro Balde has earned his first ever FIFA World Cup call-up at the age of 19. Spain announced their decision on Friday, 18 November after Jose Gaya pulled out of the tournament due to an ankle injury. Gaya, who plays as a left-back in the Spanish team got injured in training promoting Spain to make a quick decision.

The team announce a statement said that Gaya suffered a low-grade lateral sprain in his right ankle while training in Amman, Jordan on Wednesday and will return to Spain later on Friday.

Spain registered a friendly 3-1 win over Jordan in a warm-up game on Thursday, six days before they face Costa Rica in their World Cup opener. Luis Enrique’s side are also due to play Germany and Japan in Group E.

Alejandro Balde will be Gaya’s replacement in the squad for the 2010 world champions, with the 19-year-old earning his first senior call-up. Balde plays as a left-back at FC Barcelona and is one of their brightest talents to come out of their academy in the recent times. Balde has the unique ability to play in both sides of the pitch and has the lungs to make explosive runs.

Balde has been regularly selected for the Barcelona first team in the times of crisis of the club. The player has been playing at right back in the LaLiga, with the club currently at the top of the LaLiga table with 37 points from 14 games.

Spain play their first game against Costa Rica on 23 November.

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